Shila Iqbal hits out at Emmerdale bosses after being axed over old tweets

Emmerdale actress Shila Iqbal Aiesha Richards

Shila Iqbal has hit out at Emmerdale after being axed from the show over old tweets.

Shila, who played Aiesha Richards, was dropped by Emmerdale this month over Twitter messages from 2012 when Shila was a teenager at college.

Speaking out this week, the actress said: "“It was easy for them to let go of me and I suppose make an example of me."

In an interview with The Sun, she continued: “I was remorseful, and I think that should have been taken into account with my young age and the fact that I wasn’t a professional actor at that age.”

Shila said she was expecting to be suspended from the show rather than be immediately fired.

"ITV have a moral obligation to protect the public and I get that. And that’s good to do that. But I’m not hurling abuse at anyone, I never was and again it’s not in the present," she added.

In an apology over the tweets earlier this month, Shila wrote: "I am terribly sorry and take full responsibility for my use of such inappropriate language. I have paid the price and can no longer continue the job I loved the most at Emmerdale.

"Although I was young when I made the Tweets, it was still completely wrong of me to do so and I sincerely apologise.

"The only consideration I would ask is that I have recently received hateful tweets telling me that as a Muslim my Emmerdale role means that I am ‘committing sinful acts, promoting sin and deliberately going against the Quran’.

"We live in sensitive times for members of all communities and especially those in multi-racial Rochdale where I grew up.

"I regret that I too have let people down by the use of such language, albeit six years ago. I, like everyone else, have a responsibility about the language I have used on social media as well as in conversation.”

ITV said in a statement: "As a consequence of historic social media posts Shila Iqbal has left her role as Aiesha Richards on Emmerdale.

"The programme took the decision not to renew her contract as soon as these posts were brought to the company's attention."

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